There are moments in our life when going on big adventures or even doing other mundane things randomly remind us of simple principles we should’ve always carried with us for much bigger things we do in life. This is exactly what happened when I went on a big adventure recently. Just after I have finished my epic 6000-kilometre road trip on my motorcycle, touring the east coast of Canada, I have realized that doing that also has many lessons that are highly critical and applicable to entrepreneurship.
Whether you are still planning to start up a business, or are already into the business world, or are even a long-time entrepreneur—this episode is for you. With these principles, you will either gain new learnings or be reminded of these important things that you might have forgotten along the way.
Tune in to this podcast and hopefully learn how to be a better entrepreneur using these lessons from an epic motorcycle road trip!
Entrepreneurship Lessons I Realized during My Road Trip:
1. The thought of it sounds exciting. But actually, it’s scary as hell.
- The beauty of this is that it’s about pushing your limits and learning that things that have to happen will happen.
- If you are thinking about launching something—trying something new—my suggestion is: Go for it.
- Not doing what you’ve been wanting to do is the biggest regret ever
2. Plan the route and enjoy the process.
- Plan for the big milestones, like the strategy you’ll be using and your vision.
- Make sure that you are enjoying every moment of that experience.
- Don’t forget to document these things. Write them down so you can look back on these transformational shifts that you went through as you plan something so big.
3. Pack well.
- Despite all the planning, there are things you would still not be expecting. The key here is to make sure you have everything on you in case adversity hits.
- Have all the right tools, and also the right people.
- Also learn how to ask for help when you need it, and who to ask what.
- In your business, it is important to not just have team members, but also (most importantly) advisors, mentors, and coaches.
4. Lean in and accelerate.
- Sharp turns, issues, customers that you need to chase – trying to avoid them will only make it harder.
- The more you want to look away, the more you need to lean in. Accelerate on the way out rather than trying to get the matter to go away.
- Keep an eye on the exit of the turn. Sure, you’re going to hit roadblocks and potholes—part of the journey. But if you’ve kept an eye on the operational aspects especially finances: receivables, expenses, bank balances—you should be fine.
5. If they don’t hear you coming, they won’t know that you’re there.
- As an entrepreneur, if they don’t know that you’re there, they’re never going to come to you.
- Good marketing, good public relations— shouting from the rooftops with the right message is so important.
Three Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Planning for Your Business:
- Why am I doing this?
- What am I expecting?
- Where am I headed?
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Thanks, and lots of love,
Hello hello and a very big welcome to the Elevated Entrepreneur Podcast. I am super excited to be on this episode with you and talking to you about the four big lessons that I have learned from my epic road trip. Now if this is your first time here, thank you for being here, it means so much to me that you’ve chosen to spend your time with me. And if you haven’t already, I’d love for you to head on over to elevatedentrepreneur.fm where you will get access to a lot of the other episodes even show notes and transcription, as well as special downloadables that I have created just for you. Before we get into this week’s episode, I want to thank Surbhi who is a longtime listener and a big supporter of this podcast and me as an entrepreneur Surbhi sent us a special message for Episode Number 33, which you can find at elevatedentrepreneur.fm/33. The episode was about the seven phrases that entrepreneurs should not use, and Surbhi had three more phrases and words to add to that list. So here’s the message she sent.
Hey, the rain brilliant episode, the seven phrases that entrepreneurs should not use, I have three more to add to it. The first one is but beauty it negates everything that was stated before it. So instead you can use and, and convey your message. Second word is just, this is a qualifier which is typically used to minimize our contributions so stop using it, it greatly devalues your amazing contributions that you’re making something like I’m just starting my business. Don’t do that. The third is sorry, a lot of times I find people playing from an apologetic place. I’m sorry, I’m late, I’m sorry for the delayed response. Instead, people can use thank you for your patience. Thank you for waiting for me, and then start the conversations. I think now it makes a perfect end for your list and I hope to hear more of your amazing episodes in future. Thank you.
Surbhi, thank you for taking the time to send me those words and for adding so much more value to that episode, much loved. For anybody that’s listening. If you’d want to send me some thoughts, opinions and feedback, you too can head on over to elevatedentrepreneur.fm/speak and send me a message. I’d be happy to listen to it and also feature it right here on the podcast. So, this episode is just after I have finished my epic 6000 kilometre road trip on my motorcycle, touring the east coast of Canada. I have so much to share with you and four big lessons that I hope will help you in your entrepreneurial journey. So if you’re curious, stick around, grab your headphones and help me cue the music. You’re listening to the Elevated Entrepreneur Podcast, a podcast designed to help retailers, restaurant owners and entrepreneurs simplify business operations and use modern technology to elevate their business, here’s your host, Dhiren Bhatia.
All right, let’s get started with this fantastic episode called Motorcycle Diaries Entrepreneurship Lessons from an epic road trip. Now, I took off and left for Canada from Dubai, on the 31st of July, wanting to take some much needed r&r time to recharge and renew, and that’s exactly what I did. Also on the itinerary was this road trip starting from Toronto, and going all the way east to a province called Nova Scotia and a very special island off the tip of Nova Scotia called Cape Breton Island, and then turn back around and do the whole thing in reverse. Now this trip is not something that everybody does on a day. It takes a lot of talking and a lot of planning and a lot of thinking, but here we are two guys, two bikes and off we went. No, I’m just kidding we did put in a lot of thought and a lot of planning and that is my lesson number one that I want to share with you that I think applies to entrepreneurship. Lesson number one, it sounds exciting, but it is scary as hell. I can’t tell you how nervous we were before we got on the road. In fact, we were even nervous when we were planning the trip and even before that when we started talking about it because this trip was massive to be able to get from Toronto to Cape Breton Island and back is a trip that a lot of people don’t ever do in their lifetime. And I think that’s the thing with business, we all have these amazing ideas and a lot of us actually take the plunge and get started but some of us sit on the sidelines and think about it strategize, but never get started. And sure, scary is scary, but scary can also be fun, scary can also be a great opportunity to learn from and that’s exactly why we decided to proceed with this trip. The other thing about being scared is that a lot of us overthink, we can’t stop thinking about all of the things that could go wrong, including myself, even before I got on the bike, when we were planning, I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the things that would go wrong, how I would possibly fall down, doing 120 kilometers an hour, how we would run out of gas in some remote part of town and that’s the beauty of doing something this is scary. It’s about pushing your limits, to learn that things that have to happen will happen but that shouldn’t stop us from moving forward. So if you are thinking about launching something, try something new. My suggestion is go for it not doing something about it or not doing what you’ve been wanting to do is the biggest regret ever. And that’s what we did not want pandemic and everything. One of the key reasons why we did this trip is because we did not want to regret not doing it. Now, as you can imagine, going on such a long trip requires some level of planning and we hadn’t started any of this till the second week of August, we were leaving on August 22nd and we hadn’t started any sort of real planning by the second week of August. And that can be a painful experience, because there’s so much unknown and so much to plan from the root, we would take the stops, we would make the hotels, we would stay away, we would stop for gas, what points of interest oh my god, there was so many things that we had to plan and that’s lesson number two, plan the route. Especially if you’re doing something of this size, we had to go through 40 different hotels to lock in our 10 hotels, we had to look at so many different maps to make sure that we were on the right route. And also make sure that we weren’t missing any points of interest, because there are so many. And that’s the thing with business, if we are starting something or we are into something already, planning ahead is really important. And I know this sounds obvious, but still knowing your big milestones. I’m not talking about the nitty gritties, the operational stuff, I’m talking about the big milestones, the big anchors, the big rocks, that you need to know about if you’re going to be successful and when we talk about the big anchors, the big rocks, we’re talking about the one year, three year five year roadmap, a strategy and a vision. Everything else comes along the way and that’s exactly what we did on the trip. After planning all this stays the route, there were still so many other things that we couldn’t plan for and that would show up during the route. But we knew that overall direction, we knew the route that we were taking from Toronto, to Ottawa, to Montreal, to just outside Quebec City, then into New Brunswick, into Nova Scotia, turn around and come back, and so that’s the route we followed. Also a big part of this planning the route lesson is to really enjoy the process. We spent maybe about two weeks on zoom calls over coffee, over breakfast with a laptop, just talking about all the things we needed to get through and planning. We had so much fun, looking at different people’s itineraries. Looking at the map, we had literally two maps open, and making sure that not only were we planning the route, but also making sure that we were enjoying every moment of that experience, because that’s really the story we have to tell it’s how much pain and suffering who had to go through to get to where we want it to go to. So remember, enjoy the process. Yes, things may be difficult at the beginning, or they may be difficult now as you’re going through it but remember to enjoy the process. And also don’t forget to document to write these things down so that when you are looking back in time, these are the memories that are going to make you smile because these are transformational shifts that we go through as we plan something so big. Before we move to the next lesson. I just want to take a minute here to tell you about what kind of questions should you be asking when you’re planning the route when you’re planning your next big thing. It’s about why why am I doing this? What am I expecting? And where am I Had it. If you are able to answer these three questions ahead of time, it could save you a lot of pain and exercise later on. In the case that we had, at some point we were figuring out why we were going to this province and not this city and not that city. So in having those questions answered ahead of time can be a really big lifesaver.
Now, as you can imagine, a route and a trip this big is going to have some issues. And yes, I mentioned in the earlier lesson that you can’t plan for everything, but at the same time, you can pack well. And that’s lesson number three, backing and making sure that you’ve got everything ready for your journey is key. A quick story here when we were riding through New Brunswick on our way to Nova Scotia, we ended up going to this patch of forest onto this really beautiful route that we wanted to see, we ended up having a flat tire car, my buddy’s Michels bike, he got a piece of metal, and that just immediately took the air out of his tire and here we are right in the middle of the forest, no cars inside empty stretch of road, and we had no place to go get the bike fixed. Luckily, because we had packed well, we made sure that we had our repair kit and air pump and Michelle got right to work and made sure that he was able to get to the nearest bike shop to get a new tire. And that’s the same thing with business, we have to make sure that we take an opportunity to pack to make sure that we have all the right tools, and also the right people. This could be your team members, your contractual staff, not necessarily your full time staff, but also people who can advise you, board members, coaches, mentors, make sure you have all of these people on hand so that when trouble hits. When you get into a spot where you don’t know what to do, you have someone to call and ask for help. That’s the very important lesson, pack well, and learn how to ask for help. And in our case, even though we had packed everything that we had foreseen that we would need it, we did forget one very important thing which was a lighter because once you fix the tire, you patch the hole, you need a lighter, or some sort of fire to burn and seal the patch, which we did not have, of all things we were missing a litre. And luckily for us, there was a really nice person that was driving by the stop and happened to be a rider and he said I’ll go get you a lighter and he ran home, which was luckily not too far away, came back and absolutely saved our day, as well as our whole trip because we could have been stuck there for a long time. So remember, pack well and ask for help when you need it. And talking about riding. If you ask any motorcyclist, the best part about riding a motorcycle. The reason we do all of these long trips is to get to routes that are curvy, routes that make you take turns as fast as you can. And there was this particular trail that we were heading to called Cabot Trail so Cabot Trail is this holy grail for motorcyclists at the very end of Nova Scotia on this island that I mentioned earlier called Cape Breton Island, and it is a route that motorcyclists from all over the world come to, because it features unbelievable, sharp turns, winding roads, through forests, and mountains and, if you’re a motorcyclist worth your salt, you’re going to be able to lean in, you’re going to want to take these turns, at really high speed, because that’s the thrill of riding that motorcycle and leaning in is a trick is a skill that a lot of motorcyclists don’t learn for a very long time, including myself, I’m learning how to lean into turns even today, after having done a 6000 kilometer trip, I can say my skills went up a few notches, for sure and there were moments when I was just amazed at how close to the ground I was, because that’s what the turn calls for, for the rider to be able to lean into the turn and accelerate on the way out. And as easy as it sounds, There’s a really important parallel here to business. In business, a lot of us don’t lean in. In fact, we either stop or try to get out of the turn, which ends up causing more pain. So remember, lesson number four is leaning in, whether there’s issues with customers, invoices that are not being paid, even operational issues, is stuff that you don’t want to touch because there are so many other matters. Those are the things that you need to look at. You need to lean in and accelerate on the way out rather than trying to get the matter to go away, head in, keep an eye on the exit but make sure that you’re able to get out of the turn without stopping or trying to straighten up.
So let’s do a quick recap on the lessons that I shared so far. The first one is it sounds exciting, but actually, it’s scary as hell and remember, the same thing can be said for any big venture or business that you’re thinking of starting or any new idea that you’re thinking of launching in your existing business. The second lesson here is plan the route. Know your overall direction, know, the big rocks, the big anchors in your journey, and why you’re headed because those are the questions you need to ask while you’re planning your journey and remember, the important thing also here is to enjoy that process and pick up a habit of journaling and writing down some of these moments. The third lesson that I talked about was backing well, and learning to ask for help. Because, along this big journey that you’re going to get on, there can be issues, there can be potholes, there can be roadblocks, and show you can’t foresee them all in the beginning but packing well, in having the right people, having the right tools are going to be very important as you go on this journey and that’s not only just team members, including your full time members or your contractual team members, but also important people like mentors, coaches and advisors that you should have on literally speed dial, so that you can pick up the phone and speak to them when trouble hits. The last lesson on writing the most important one in this conversation is the ability to lean in just like a good motorcyclist was going to lean into the turn rather than being scared of it or trying to straighten the bike, a good entrepreneur is going to learn how to lean into problems that they face along the way. And also with leaning in a good motorcyclist is going to have his or her eye on the exit. Similarly, in entrepreneurship, a business owner is going to not only lean into the turn to the issue, but also make sure they have an eye on the exit, they have a way out, they have a plan on how to get out of that situation. And there’s one more bonus lesson that I will share with you if you’re riding a motorcycle, which is if they don’t hear you coming, they don’t know that you’re there. This is so true not only with motorcyclists, but also with business. And with two guys on two bikes, it’s important that we had all the right sounds and the right gear to be visible so that everybody knew that we were on the road because with motorcyclists, it’s really easy to ignore them when you’re riding in your car and the same is true for business. If they don’t know that you’re there, they’re never going to come to you and so good marketing, good PR, shouting from the rooftops with the right message is so important. So that’s lesson number five, just a bonus lesson I thought I’d throw in there. I hope that you’ve enjoyed these four plus one bonus lesson about the things that I learned on my epic road trip and I hope that these will help you in your own business, or at least spark some thoughts so that you can get better as an entrepreneur.
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